Georgia to Deploy Troops in Ethnic Armenian District Following Clashes

TSALKA (Combined Sources)–A 150-strong unit of Georgia’s Internal Troops are to be deployed in Tsalka District following mass disturbances involving the district’s ethnic Armenian and Georgian residents on Sunday.

A Prime-News correspondent reported from Tsalka that the president’s representative in the Kvemo Kartli Region–Ioseb Mazmishvili–as well as a group of investigators from the regional offices of the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor-General’s Office–arrived in Tsalka on Monday to investigate the incident.

The Prime-News correspondent has said that the regional administration will stay in Tsalka until order is restored there. A temporary command post to coordinate the activities of law enforcement officers will also be set-up.

Mazmishvili told Prime-News that the temporary command post will institute special measures–to include the disarming of residents.

A-Info reported that clashes began when some 50 Svans (ethnic Georgian group) ran into the field and began beating the Armenian soccer players after they had made a goal. Most of the victims–schoolchildren–suffered serious injuries.

Armenian youth from neighboring villages moved in to help–but before reaching Tsalka–were told that police had managed to stop the fight. Armenian and Svans clashed again in other areas.

A-Info also reported that the mainly Georgian local police arbitrarily harassed Armenia’s–with one policeman opening fire on the car of a young Armenian who had nothing to do with the events.

The president’s representative in the region has described the situation in the district as tense.

Several dozen have been injured; one youth suffered concussion.

A group of doctors from Rustavi went to Tsalka on Monday to treat the injured.

Mass disturbances involving ethnic Georgians and Armenia’s have taken place in the Tsalka District before.

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